How COVID-19 Has Affected Sex Workers

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Sex work is intimate by its nature and involves a lot of risks for the two individuals involved in the activity. Along with the already existing diseases caused by intercourse, Coronavirus has come out to be the new addition in the list other than HIV AIDs. 

Need Attention

The point that needs our attention here is- not the risk of getting affected by the virus but the fact that are the Brothels and strip clubs are closed, the sex workers don’t have a business to mind and then they are finding it difficult to survive without no money in their hands. 

Though sex workers have been suffering all over the world, as in some parts of Europe, Sex work is criminalized directly or indirectly, but in this article, we tend to put light upon the issues and challenges that the Indian sex workers face.

Undoubtedly, India is deemed to be the global epicenter of sex work and so, has the largest commercial sex trade in the world. Mumbai, the notorious- filthy, dirty, and ultimate sex destination have in it, the largest number of prostitutes, who make their living out of sex work. 

And after the Coronavirus outbreak, they’ve been running out of money as men are afraid of being infected by the virus from the same women, who they love to make ‘love’ with on normal days. Even for the sex workers can turn out to be a ‘sin’ at this moment as it may put their lives on stake.

Identity Hurdle

As per a report by--The Hindu, a sex worker told that she has been out of work for almost three months now and it is getting difficult to survive and make ends meet. Getting back to work is the only option left with her. This is the same scenario in the entire country.

In Delhi’s G.B road, which is a red light area, sex workers are finding it difficult to find a different job right now as their identity is becoming a hurdle in their way of finding work. 
When their Aadhar Card shows the area they live in, all other jobs are snatched away from them. 

“We are getting rations here. But there are other expenses like vegetables, gas cylinders, etc. We also need to send some money back to our families. My father has no source of income. Earlier he used to work on farms, now he stays at home. The house is run on whatever money I send him”, Sudha, a sex worker told The Quint.

As per the report of--Firstpost, some NGOs have tried contacting the ministers of the ruling party for getting assistance for the sex workers. 

No Plan or Policy

For sex laborers, there is no spending plan assigned or a particular plan by the administration," said Maharashtra minister of state for Women and Child Development Yashomati Chandrakant Thakur. "I comprehend they need assistance, yet it tends to be directed using NGOs as it were."

"It is extremely miserable that there is no plan or program for the sex laborers," included Rajkumar Badole of BJP and the previous Minister of Social Justice. 

"The decision alliance administration of Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) can remember them for some plan remembering the pandemic emergency." Social Justice Minister Dhananjay Munde stayed inaccessible despite calls and messages.

It has been a tough time for all of us, but for the marginalized communities, it is even worse. Their only fault is--being who they are. Sex workers, who literally are in the limelight on normal days for their identity, are being ignored for the same identity. 

For how long can the NGOs provide them with money? Even NGOs are running out of money. This way, the only resort left with them is the aide that the Government can provide them with--other food and ration. 

It has become the need of the hour to become the voice of those communities who are heard less in the country.

Written by - Unsa Khan

Edited by - Rudransh Khurana

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